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Bike Hutto Celebrates 100 Years of Hippos with Inaugural Hippo Hunt Fundraiser

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In celebration of the 100 years of the Hippo, Bike Hutto is holding its first ever HIPPO HUNT on November 14, 2015! Hippo Hunt is a Hippo Scavenger Hunt on bicycles. Teams of 4-6 will bike to various hippos throughout central Hutto based on clues and a map. At each hippo location they get a clue that takes them on to the next hippo. Each team has a slightly different “route”. The event will start at 9am at Creekside Park located at 305 Orchard Way in Hutto, Texas. Check-In opens at 8am to allow teams time to receive their event packet materials, swag bags, and enjoy breakfast tacos courtesy of Ricardo’s Tacos. The first team that completes the scavenger hunt and makes their way back to Creekside Park wins the Hippo Hunt Trophy.

Teams are between 4 and 6 persons. If you do not have a team, Bike Hutto will be happy to pair you up with a team. Each team member is to fill out their own registration form (or have a parent fill it out for them). A team member is any individual riding their own bike on the team. Small children in carriers do not count as a team member and there will be no fee for that child.  Cost is $15 a person with a maximum of $60 per team. Each participant receives an event t-shirt, swag bag, and breakfast the morning of the event.  In order to be guaranteed t-shirt size, registration must be complete by November 1st.

Helmets are required to participate. All road and trail rules must be obeyed at all times. The only way to cross Hwy 79 is via the Cottonwood Creek Trail Underpass which is shown on the map provided at check-in. Any crossing of Hwy 79 not via the underpass will result in an immediate disqualification.

All registration proceeds from the event will go to Hutto Has Heart. Hutto Has Heart seeks to serve and empower the emotional, financial, educational, and spiritual well-being of the Hutto community members by organizing and sustaining collaborative efforts.  They do this by assisting both individual families on a case by case basis, as well as larger fundraising efforts such as creating a relief fund for the Memorial Day Flood Victims. http://www.huttohasheart.org/

Registration information can be found at https://bikehutto.org/hippo-hunt-2015/

We are very appreciative of Capital Metro for being the primary sponsor of this year’s Hippo Hunt.  Thank you also to Ricardo’s Tacos for their generous donation of breakfast tacos, and to the Hutto High School Leo’s, the City of Hutto, and the Hutto Parks and Recreation Department for their generous in-kind donations.

Bike Hutto’s mission is to encourage and foster a community environment within Hutto in which bicyclists of all ages can socialize, receive safety education, and voice their needs for building better bicycle friendly infrastructure.  Bike Hutto values the importance of creating a bicycle friendly community within the City of Hutto focusing on the benefits (Transportation, Health, Economics, Recreation, and Environment) that bicycling provides.

Bike Hutto Ranked Top Ten Texas Teams in 2015 National Bike Challenge

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The National Bike Challenge is a nationwide event uniting thousands of current bicyclists—and encouraging countless new riders. In its simplest form it is a logging center for users to record miles ridden and be part of the national community of bicyclists. It is a free and easy way to challenge yourself, colleagues and the greater community to ride more. Users compete on a local, state and national level.  This program is a successful partnership between People For Bikes and Kimberly-Clark’s Scott Natural Brand.  The Challenge, which ran from May 1 to September 30th, united 92,352 riders pedaling over 37 million miles in the five month period.

Within the National Bike Challenge individuals compete and there is also the opportunity to form teams and have local challenges as well. Bike Hutto participated as a team for the first time ever in 2015. It had 23 active bicyclists and was part of the Bike Austin Local Challenge. The Bike Austin Local Challenge encompassed 16 communities and 26 teams throughout the Central Texas region. The Bike Hutto Team ranked number one within Central Teas. Hutto was second only to Austin amongst those 16 communities.  Bike Hutto also faired very well within the state of Texas. The team ranked 9th out of 104 teams participating in Texas.

Individuals are awarded at different levels of the challenge based on points and mileage. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond levels can be achieved.  Four Bike Hutto riders (Leigh Ann Ganzar, James Jumonville, Brian Grubbs, and Camille Baptiste) were awarded Platinum Status based on having over 2,500 points. Eighteen of the participating riders reached at least one award level during the challenge.

“We are very proud of what Bike Hutto accomplished its first year competing in the Bike Challenge,” says Bike Hutto Director, Jessica Romigh. “With that, we are already looking at ways to do even better next year! No reason we can’t go from the top ten to the top five in Texas!”

In addition to the National Bike Challenge being a fun way to encourage bicycling throughout the summer months, there is also an opportunity to gather data such as recreation verses transportation miles.  Bike Hutto will be utilizing this data in the coming months as it addresses infrastructure and programming needs for bicyclists in the Hutto, Texas area.

Bike Hutto’s mission is to encourage and foster a community environment within Hutto in which bicyclists of all ages can socialize, receive safety education, and voice their needs for building better bicycle friendly infrastructure.  Bike Hutto values the importance of creating a bicycle friendly community within the City of Hutto focusing on the benefits (Transportation, Health, Economics, Recreation, and Environment) that bicycling provides.

Bike Hutto Director to Speak at Health Education Summit

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On Thursday, September 24th, Bike Hutto director, Jessica Romigh will be a panel speaker at the Health Education Summit hosted by the Williamson County and Cities Health District. The panel (entitled “Advancing Health Promotion Through Collaboration”) consists of four speakers. Ms. Romigh is joined by Faith Unger, CareGiverU Program Director at AGE of Central Texas, Mary McKenna, the Director of Health and Wellness for the Georgetown Independent School District, and Dinorah Martinez-Anderson who is a Clinical Assistant Professor/Ph.D. Student at Texas State University- St. David’s School of Nursing.

Jessica Romigh’s presentation, “Activating The Ripple: Making A Healthy Difference In Your Community”, will show how anyone has the capacity to create change. Through the formation of Bike Hutto, an impact has been made on Hutto with strives to make it a more healthy community.  What has now grown to be an 80 plus member organization in a matter of months, was done so out of one individuals desire to create a fun and informative group for local bicyclists.  Through connecting with not only those interested in cycling, but with the community at large, a wider impact has been able to be made. An impact that continues to grow throughout the county, state, and nation.

The Health Education Summit seeks to:

  • Increase capacity of local professionals to engage in effective health education and promotion activities;
  • Strengthen multi-sector collaboration for evidence-based improvements in health policies, programs and environments; and
  • Explore innovative practices aimed at improving health behaviors, health equity, and health policies in Williamson County.

The Williamson County and Cities Health District, in partnership with communities, protects and promotes the health of the people of Williamson County.  The Williamson County and Cities Health District has provided public health services to Williamson County since 1943. Our Public Health Centers and offices are located in Cedar Park, Georgetown, Round Rock, and Taylor.

Jessica Romigh is the founder and director of Bike Hutto, a bicycling organization focusing on community building, bike safety education, and infrastructure advocacy in Hutto, Texas.  She serve as the Co-Chair of the Wilco Wellness Alliance Active Living Work Group which “encourages the utilization of existing active living resources, creates awareness of new opportunities, and serves as a forum for collaborative efforts and information sharing around physical activity and built environment.”  In addition Jessica Romigh is a commissioner for the City of Hutto Planning and Zoning Commission, an active member of the Healthy Hutto coalition, an Ambassador for It’s Time Texas, and currently going through the Hutto Citizen’s University program.

Hutto To Pursue Bike Friendly Community Designation

On Thursday September 17th, the Hutto City Council voted and approved the Strategic Guide 2035. The Strategic Guide serves as a long-range, comprehensive planning document aimed at guiding the growth and development of the City to the year 2035. There are Policies, Goals, and Activities that are outlined to make this planning a reality. Under the Mobility Policy is the goal to “Maintain and Follow Pedestrian Mobility Plan”. For FY16 one of the activities to reach that goal is as follows:

“Pursue Bike Friendly Community Designation”

With the approval of the Strategic Guide 2035 document, Hutto can officially pursue a Bike Friendly Community Designation from the League of American Bicyclists! This has been an important goal for Bike Hutto and we are very excited to be able to move forward on this!

So what is a “Bike Friendly Community Designation”?  Per the League of American Bicyclists,

TheLEAGUE-BFA“The Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC℠) program provides a roadmap to improve conditions for bicycling and the guidance to make your distinct vision for a better, bikeable community a reality.  A BFC welcomes bicyclists by providing safe accommodations for bicycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation. Making bicycling safe and convenient are keys to improving public health, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality and improving quality of life.”

This is done by targeting the 5 E’s — Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning.  There are levels of designation within the program that include Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  In Texas there are currently five communities that are certified. Austin has Silver status.  Houston, Richardson, San Antonio, and The Woodlands Township have Bronze status.  The following Texas communities have received Honorable Mention through their applications: El Paso, Frisco, Hollywood Park, and Plano.

What happens now? 

The City will be creating an employee team to help pursue the designation. Bike Hutto will continue to be involved in the process and will work with the City of Hutto on helping to make this designation a reality. There are two application cycles each year.  There is one in February and one in August. Once there is a team put in place and planning has begun, it will be determined which cycle the application will be submitted to.

Learn more about the Bicycle Friendly Community Program through the League of American Bicyclists by visiting: http://bikeleague.org/community

Bike Hutto Gears Up Local Group Ride Program After Positive Community Response

 

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What started with a community survey and one Bike Hutto member stepping up earlier this summer has become a full-fledged Group Ride program here in Hutto, Texas – one that attracts both Hutto residents, as well as bicyclists from surrounding communities.

On June 20th, 2015, Bike Hutto had its first Hutto Group Ride which was led by Ride Leader James Jumonville.  Jumonville had approached Bike Hutto with an interest in leading a group ride in Hutto the beginning of June.  Coincidentally, the local bicycling advocacy organization was in the process of conducting a community survey to get a pulse on what types of future biking activities would be of interest. Group Rides had already surfaced as being a number one need for Hutto.

“The timing couldn’t have been more perfect!” says Bike Hutto founder, Jessica Romigh. “James is a very accomplished rider and really knows the country roads around here. We were so happy when he volunteered to start leading rides!”

After that initial ride in June, the program slowly gained momentum with a couple more rides being added each month over the summer. More and more community members started attending rides. And it wasn’t just Hutto residents joining in the fun. Bicyclists started to come from surrounding towns to enjoy Hutto’s trails and easy access to scenic country roads through the group ride program.

In September, Bike Hutto expands the program to include 5 Group Ride Leaders: James Jumonville, Camille Baptiste, Amber Townsley, Kimberleigh Kimball, and Gina Auditore. Rides vary in length and intent giving the opportunity for a wide variety of bicyclists to get involved. The goal is to reach as many different types of cyclists as possible –ranging from beginners to experienced.  Scheduled rides in September include Gearing Down For Yoga (a group ride centered around a stop at the launch party of The Hutto Yoga Room to participate in a yoga class) and Bike & Brunch (a 40 mile ride that ends with the riders having brunch at Baked N Sconed, a favorite local spot in Hutto.)

Hutto Group Rides are open to all individuals wishing to ride. There is no requirement to have a Bike Hutto membership or any fees involved.  All rides are no drop (no one gets left behind).  For more information on upcoming rides, please visit: https://bikehutto.org/programs/hutto-group-rides/

Bike Hutto Kicks Off Vida Fest with Bike Ride to Promote Health

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Bike Hutto will be leading a family-friendly bike ride on August 8th to kick off Vida Fest. The ride, which is open to anyone who has a bicycle and would like to participate, will start at the Hutto High School parking lot and will follow Carl Stern the two blocks to the Nadine Johnson Elementary School where Vida Fest is taking place. Bicyclists of all ages will be meeting at the high school at 8am and will time the ride to arrive at Vida Fest right at 8:30am.

Vida Fest is an outreach program, whose mission is to serve and help the community by meeting the needs of our city; one child, one family at a time. This program has worked to provide for children from the City of Hutto, and its surrounding areas to ensure they are equipped with school supplies to succeed in the new school year. This festival, now in its fifth year, provides free school supplies and back packs as well as free haircuts and immunizations.  http://www.vidafest.org/

Bike Hutto will also have a booth at Vida Fest and will be providing free basic tune-ups for kids bikes, as well as bike safety materials generously provided by Texas Department of Transportation and Please Be KIND To Cyclists. Children storybooks emphasizing the importance of safety will be available free in both English and Spanish.

Physical activity is associated with improved academic performance in children and adolescents. The kick off bike ride is a great way to symbolize kids and families starting off the school year in an active living/wellness frame of mind!

Vida Fest will be held at Nadine Johnson Elementary School located at 480 Carl Stern Blvd, Hutto, TX 78634. The Bike Hutto bike ride will start at Hutto High School located at 101 Farm to Market 685, Hutto, TX 78634.

RSVP for the Ride: https://www.facebook.com/events/701571593280048/

Bike Hutto Finds a Home in Creekside Park through Local Adopt-A-Spot Program

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In January, Bike Hutto became one of the first Hutto organizations to get involved with the Adopt-A-Spot program.  This City of Hutto program is a way for residents to get involved in taking care of the community.  Groups can “adopt” different city roadways, parks, and other areas around town by organizing trash clean ups, landscaping, and other ways to ‘Keep Hutto Beautiful’.  The organization makes a two-year time commitment with a minimum of four clean-up and/or beautification projects per year.

“We were very pleased to receive Creekside Park as our “spot” in the program. So many of us ride the Cottonwood Creek Trail that passes through the park. This was a way for us to help make the area even more beautiful and make an impact in the community. Creekside Park now feels like home and there is a real sense of pride.” says Bike Hutto founder, Jessica Romigh.

Adopt a Spot - Bike HuttoThe bicycling organization has had three Adopt-A-Spot events at Creekside so far this year. In March, they had one of their events in conjunction with the City of Hutto Arbor Day and were one of the volunteer groups that helped in the planting of 24 trees along the trail.  In April, Bike Hutto did a trash clean up in the park as part of Hutto’s Big Event.  Following the severe Memorial Day floods, a clean-up day was scheduled in June to help with all the debris that had floated into the park when it was underwater.  In addition to liter and debris clean up, there are plans to do some native Texas landscaping surrounding picnic areas in the future.

On Saturday, July 25 at 9am, Bike Hutto will be doing a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the new sign that officially designates Creekside Park as being adopted by Bike Hutto.  Following the ribbon cutting, volunteers will participate in liter pickup throughout the park and then bike to downtown Hutto for lunch.

Creekside Park is located at 305 Orchard Way, along the Cottonwood Creek Trail.  The park contains two playscapes, as well as practice fields, picnic tables, grills, and bathrooms.

Let us know you can make it by going to the facebook event listing: https://www.facebook.com/events/689440817855345/

 

Share The Trail

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Using trails can be a lot of fun! Whether it be the Cottonwood Creek and Hutto Lake Park Trails here in Hutto, or exploring another park, trails are a great way to get outside and get moving! But it’s important not to forget trail etiquette. Trail etiquette keeps the trails more safe and enjoyable for all to use.

Rails to Trails Conservancy has created a wonderful SHARE THE TRAIL campaign with six tips to keep in mind when using the trails!  Below are the tips. Go to their SHARE THE TRAIL page for even more great information! And while you’re at it, TAKE THE PLEDGE to share the trails!

1_Use Safe Speeds

Using safe speeds ensures that all trail users feel comfortable and safe. Having a speed demon fly by on the trail can be unsettling. Be respectful by keeping your speed in check and considering the comfort of others, regardless of your training or time schedule—or need for speed.

2_KeepRightPassLeft

Just like driving on the road, slower traffic should stay to the right. When passing, use a bell or quick verbal warning to alert slower traffic to stay in their lane, potentially averting a collision. A friendly heads-up also helps to avoid startling your fellow trail users.

3_StandingStill

By standing aside, you are enabling others to use the corridor freely without having to weave around static users or make sudden stops. It’s also courteous and shows respect for your fellow trail enthusiasts.

4_MindYourPets

Not all trail users know how to act around pets, and vice versa. Pets should be under control at all times to reduce uncomfortable run-ins and eliminate collisions with others.

5_BeAlert

Being alert and predictable allows other trail users to calculate what you’re going to do and act accordingly. And by staying alert, you’re showing others that you respect their trail journey, too.

6_KnowRules

Knowing the rules of your local trail enables you to act in a manner in accordance with everyone else. Being predictable is important; if you’re following the guidelines that everyone else is following, too—everyone’s trail experience will be safer and more enjoyable.

Taking this Town on Two Wheels: Bike Hutto’s First Bike Month Deemed a Great Success

Bike_Hutto_Texas_Bike_Month_2015At the April 16th City Council Meeting, the chambers dias was lined with bicycles as Mayor Deborah Holland read a Mayoral Proclamation declaring that May is National Bike Month in Hutto, Texas.  This was the first Bike Month proclamation for Hutto, Texas and the first time the city has celebrated the month of May as National Bike Month.  Established in 1956 and sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to give biking a try.

The official kick off of Bike Month was held at the Hutto Public Library on May 2nd.  Bike Hutto, Library Staff, and the Friends of the Hutto Public Library coordinated a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the newly installed bike rack.  This is the first bike rack for the Hutto Public Library. Mayor Holland and Library Manager, Paula Waak each said a few words before Bike Hutto founder, Jessica Romigh officially cut the ribbon. The event, attended by bicycle riders, library patrons, and city council members, also included a free Bike Maintenance Workshop taught by Ben Block and kids activities centered on bike safety.  The Hutto Public Library continued the fun by hosting a display of bicycle-related books throughout the month of May.

National Bike to School Day was May 6th. Bike Hutto and the Hutto ISD worked together to spread the word through emails and social media to families, encouraging students to ride their bikes to school.

City of Hutto Staff and the Hutto Police Department celebrated National Bike to Work Day on May 15th with a late morning social ride.  The ride, which also included some members of Bike Hutto, was also the inaugural ride of the newly formed Hutto Police Department bike patrol.  Per Sgt. Chris Kelley, “The bike unit will, for the remainder of this year, be used for special events requiring security or a police presence.  This is great exposure for the unit and for the officers who wish to be a part of it.  Once our staffing level increases the plan is to have patrol officers (who are certified bike officers) carry the bikes on their patrol cars.  Once in an area where bike patrol would be beneficial they will deploy the bike in a patrol fashion.  This way they will be near their patrol car if a call comes out that is too far for them to respond on the bike.”

Bike Hutto launched its new free membership program the beginning of the month. They also had an information and bicycle tune up booth at the Central Texas Home and Garden Show and the weekly CO-OP Market Nights.

Bike Hutto’s mission is to encourage and foster a community environment within Hutto in which bicyclists of all ages can socialize, receive safety education, and voice their needs for building better bicycle friendly infrastructure.  Bike Hutto was formed by Jessica Romigh in October 2014 after she attended the City of Hutto’s Setting the Table Workshop and saw a need within the Hutto community to create a fun and informative group for local bicyclists.

Future Bike Hutto Rides and Events Poll

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We want to know from YOU what kind of rides and events you would like to see happen here in Hutto!  Have an idea for an event that is not part of the poll? Add it in the “Other” category!!  Interested in leading a ride?  Let us know and we’ll help get the word out!  Bike Hutto is about building a community and the more people involved the better!

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